Sometimes I hate people.

As I don’t drive, I use public transport a lot. It can be a frustrating experience and you have to deal with a lot of idiots who slow you down, get in the way, act obnoxiously and generally get on your nerves.

However, the only way I’ve responded to these irritations is by rolling my eyes, tutting to myself, firing off the occasional angry tweet or picturing a vicious take down of the offending passenger.

Occasionally the person who annoys me is disabled. That sounds horrible, but douchebags come in all varieties, and having my foot run over by a belligerent wheelchair user who didn’t even offer an apology is enough to have me picturing myself doing the whole “THIS…IS…SPARTA!” bit.

But I resist the urge because I’m basically a nice(ish) guy and don’t believe in violence against people who are rude. I’ll let karma sort out what’s what later on.

But according to a recent study to tie-in with plans of staff cutbacks which will see less than 7,000 train guards and an equal number of station guards, not everyone is as forgiving or controlled.

A poll of disabled passengers revealed that over 1/4 of them had suffered some form of hate crime or abuse while traveling. 43% of wheelchair users said they’d been abused, as did 41% of those with visual impairments. The proposed cuts have left disabled in a tough spot, with 81% believing travel will be more difficult and 34% stating that the cuts would deter them from traveling.

I found this news really sad, I’m not going to get involved on the cuts front, as I don’t have all the facts, but for my money it seems like a bad idea, and the effect on disabled passengers is tragic. These are people who are already isolated in many ways and a major lifeline and connection to the world is being made more difficult for them to use and intimidating.

But that’s nothing compared to the sheer scumbaggery of those who give these passengers abuse. I remember reading something a few years back about a blind dude who regularly got abuse and hassle from members of the public. It shocked me.

I’ve always known there are horrible people out there, but to pick on somebody who’s in a vulnerable position and can’t defend themselves? That’s just low, man. And needlessly cruel.

Like I said, I get that public transport is frustrating and tempers can flare, but a lot of the cases I’ve heard of are more than just snapping or shoving. They’re vindictive, nasty little attacks.

It’s after reading stories like this that my rose tinted view of the people being essentially decent really takes a kicking. Last year, the Paralympics seemed to do a lot for attitudes towards the disabled, but as with lots of things in our society, clearly we’ve got a long road left to go.

Story here.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


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